Rae Ann Gruver knows that bullying is not an accident. Hazing is not an accident. A child dying because he wanted to belong is not an accident. It is an abomination.
Gruver’s son Max, a graduate of Blessed Trinity Catholic High School, died in 2017 following a fraternity hazing incident at Louisiana State University. While the grief saturated every part of their life, Gruver and her husband Steve started the Max Gruver Foundation to ensure other parents don’t have to go through such a horrible ordeal. Their nonprofit organization works with schools and universities to end the scourge of hazing on campus.
The Max Gruver Foundation uses educational seminars and presentations to create awareness and education about the danger of hazing and bullying. The foundation also advocates for anti-hazing laws, including helping to get the Max Gruver Act passed in Louisiana.
“Max’s death was not an accident because hazing is not an accident,” Rae Ann Gruver told Johns Creek City Lifestyle magazine. “Max’s death was 100% avoidable and preventable because hazing should have never been a part of joining a fraternity or any organization. Parents need to be aware of the signs that their child may be getting hazed and step in if they feel hazing is going on.”
The Gruver family wants everyone to know hazing needs to stop. They want high schools, college campuses, Greek organizations, and government entities to stand against hazing and save lives. The Max Gruver Foundation and the funds it raises through events like the Fly High Max 5K help to ensure hazing has no place on any campus.
The night before they buried Max, the Gruvers found a paper he wrote on blessings. The last paragraph was this:
"God works in funny ways. He does bad things sometimes because in the end they are good. Something bad may happen to you, but it may happen because it will make you better. He does bad to ultimately create good.”
These four sentences gave the Gruver family the strength and direction to start their foundation.